For a preview of tonight’s San Antonio Spurs game against the Los Angeles Lakers, I turned to Lakers blogger and a great friend of Project Spurs, Rey Moralde aka Rey Rey aka spicegal4life on the Spice Girls fan message boards. Ok, just kidding on the last part, I hope.
Here are his responses to my five pregame questions for him.
1. What is your early analysis on the Lakers after their first two games? They were very impressive in their win against the Clippers, but then lost against Golden State and Stephen Curry, who had a great night against the Lakers.
They had adrenaline and they were riding the wave of the crowd. Not only that but they caught the Clippers napping. The Lakers were sent back to reality by the Golden State Warriors. They always had trouble guarding the three and, really, the Lakers are not going to be able to defend anything this season. If you ask them to watch someone's wallet, that wallet would be gone.
2. If Tim Duncan sits out with his chest contusion injury, is there anyone with the Spurs that you think will be able to contain Pau Gasol tonight, or is he in line for a big night?
Tiago Splitter will be fine but I feel like the Spurs can double him without much worry. This Laker roster doesn't scare anybody. Even if Pau Gasol does have a big night, so what? You would need to have someone like Steve Blake or Xavier Henry to have a super game.
3. With Duncan out, a lot of the offensive load will be thrust on Tony Parker's shoulders. Will Steve Nash, Blake and Farmar be able to keep up with him?
In a word, no. I remember Blake defending him really well last season, and Parker still got 28 points. I hate to say this but Nash is done. Blake will try hard and get his licks in and while Jordan Farmar has become better, he's still not a great defender. Parker will eventually overwhelm them all.
4. Looking at this from a Lakers perspective, if you're Mike D'Antoni, do you elect to focus defensively on stopping Parker or limiting Kawhi Leonard, who won't have Kobe Bryant in front of him?
Parker makes the Spurs go. Kawhi is an excellent player but he'll still have to prove that he's the man. I have no doubt that he will be at some point but, at this juncture, the offense lives and dies with Tony Parker. Of course, we're probably asking too much from the Lakers when it comes to defending.
5. Prediction time. Do you see the Spurs being able to use a fast-paced offense to take advantage of a team that could possibly be on tired legs in their third game in four nights, or do the Lakers attack up front with Duncan likely being out? Who wins and why?
The Lakers will definitely use Pau as much as they can although he has to be more aggressive and act like he owns the place. He had a tendency to go away just so he could get his teammates involved but we've seen Gasol dominate games. He should try to carry the Lakers. Unfortunately, as we saw last year, the Spurs will just be too much for L.A. The only way the Lakers win is if they catch the Spurs napping, just like they caught the Clippers getting too comfortable. But Pop is as cerebal as they come and he's not going to let that happen.